Ghosts are NOT Dark Matter

Just a quick one tonight. At Dragon*Con (which I won’t mention again until next summer) some fascinatingly misguided person suggested that ghosts are made of Dark Matter. Dark matter is the missing 22% of the stuff the universe is made of. This is stuff – it is just stuff that doesn’t interact with the electromagnetic force in a noticeable way. This means it does not obscure light (like dust), it does not give off light (like stars), it does not chemically interact, or in fact it does not do anything other than move stuff with its mass via gravity. This means that if you can see something, it is not Dark Matter. This means that if you can detect something as a cold spot (which implies something happened to the heat energy in that spot), and if...

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Name a Star (not), Name a Theory (maybe), Name an Asteroid (certainly)

Name a Star (not), Name a Theory (maybe), Name an Asteroid (certainly)

The names of things in astronomy are quite random in origin and often quite awful for no good reason. Now, there are exceptions, but… In general. Wow. Are the astronomers who get to name things using up all their creativity in their analysis? For some reason the names of things in astronomy have come up many times in the past couple weeks, and when faced with some really cool names from physics, I decided I just needed to blog about it. So first there was the annoyance of learning there is a line of children’s plush toys that allow you to register the name of a star in a database astronomers and astronomy software will never utilize. This means there are now going to be little starry-eyed kids coming up at star parties, with starry butted toys, and...

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Left Behind by those who Judged

One of my colleagues sent me a link to what is by far one of the most disturbing websites I think I have ever seen (and I had a friend who used to work very hard to try and creep me out). It’s safe for work, but your reaction may or may not be. The web site is You’ve Been Left Behind. It is a for-fee “service” that stores up to 250 MB of files and then offers to send out those files to up to 62 email addresses 6 days after Rapture. This website bothers me on so many different levels that I am having trouble expressing myself. It all starts with the premise that those subscribing are saved and going to heaven and that the 62 people they are leaving email for are not, and are destined to go to hell. It is a good business model – take...

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Astrology vs String Theory

Astrology vs String Theory

dragon.gifThe scientific method requires good scientific theories to build theories based on observations/experiments that make specific predictions about the outcomes of future observations/experiments. It’s okay if we don’t currently have the technology to make an observation. Theories are perfectly capable of sitting on shelves waiting to be proven right or wrong. What matters – what makes the theory science – is that the theory is eventually provable (or disprovable).

So, how do I deal with string theory?

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